There is something cleansing about a walking interview with a good reporter. Susan Delacourt did a long interview with Justin Trudeau recently, while they were walking in the snow in Rideau Park in Ottawa. It seems to have given the Toronto Star reporter the leads for a number of stories. In this particular case, Justin Trudeau was complaining about the lack of recognition for the work his government had done when it had a majority after the 2015 election.
What Justin needs to realize is that missteps will hide any accomplishments, any day. And Trudeau the Younger had made more than a few missteps.
But the Delacourt opinion piece brought back memories for me. It was 55 years ago that I took a long walk around Peterborough, Ontario with a Globe and Mail reporter named John Dafoe. I don’t think I ever asked John about his grandfather. It was obvious that he would be the grandson of the famous Winnipeg Free Press editor, with the same name, who died in 1944. John had just met Pierre Trudeau, the new member of parliament for Mount Royal.
What Pierre and some other liberal MPs and party people were doing at that hotel in Peterborough on that fine fall weekend was only a by-the-way in the front-page story in the Globe and Mail the following Monday. That feature story, by John Dafoe, launched Pierre Trudeau on the road to becoming prime minister, replacing Lester B. Pearson.
The funny thing about that interview in Peterborough was that nothing of that sort had been planned. The liberal meeting was supposedly on the QT. And I was hardly the only person surprised by the local MP thinking that his invitation to the local CBC station would be kept within Peterborough.
When I asked Pierre Trudeau to talk to the TV people, he told me to ‘F-off’ in front of the entire group. And that led to a few vulgarities from me in response.
I will never know why Pierre suddenly relented and agreed to do the TV interview. The camera was set up in the hotel lobby. Everything was fine until the Globe and Mail, in the person of John Dafoe, wandered in. Pierre was eager to get back to the group and that was when John and I went for a walk
Copyright 2021 © Peter Lowry
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